Indian Ocean holiday highlights

Fashion crowds and honeymooners retreat to the Maldives for stylish vibes and private island escapes. Isolated beaches are shared with cute hermit crabs; late-night cocktail bars spill out onto soft sands and the deep blue seas here are the best on earth for snorkelling and scuba diving. Expect personalised service and experiences; think candle-lit seafood dinners on the beach and cruising under the stars.

French island La Reunion’s extraordinary Jurassic-like volcanic landscape suits those with a wandering spirit. Visit unique villages built inside spectacular craters, stroll through the manicured colonial capital of Saint-Denis – the largest French city that’s not actually in France – and climb the Piton des Neiges. Now’s the time to visit as it’s still beautifully underdeveloped, has a distinctly French flavour – expect sweet patisseries and French cheese – and of course, there’s that astonishing sapphire blue lagoon.

We understand that sometimes you just want to escape with your nose in a good book and a cocktail for company. Our hand-picked Mauritius and Seychelles Indian Ocean holidays are standout destinations for such pursuits – luxury beachfront hotels, creamy sands and turquoise waters surrounded by a barrier reef. And if you do fancy a little adventure, you can take a seaplane flight from Mahé to Praslin or a helicopter to the protected reserve of Silhouette and experience two islands in one. You’ll find world famous beaches like Anse Source’ d’Agent as well as seasonal sea turtle nesting, Giant tortoises, and the chance to see the coco de mer palm in its only natural habitat.

Where is the Indian Ocean?
There are hundreds of irresistible islands strung like lily pads throughout the Indian Ocean. Located between Africa and Australasia and the Southern Ocean and Australia, the Indian Ocean covers 20% of the Earth’s surface and some of its best known islands include the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

Indian Ocean islands
The Indian Ocean has some of the most beautiful islands in the world.

The Maldives Made up of 26 atolls and over 1,000 tiny islands, is the Maldives is our most popular honeymoon destination. You can combine two different islands on a multi-centre holiday or simply stay put in ultra-luxurious bliss at your chosen resort.

Mauritius Sitting east of Madagascar, in the southern Indian Ocean, and with a year-round subtropical climate, the east coast is home to exclusive beachfront hotels and glitzy restaurants and the west coast has perfectly calm waters for snorkelling and swimming.

The Seychelles Made up of 115 beautiful islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, many are uninhabited and dedicated to nature reserves. Mahé and Praslin are home to some of the best beaches in the world with sea turtles feeling so safe here that they come up and nest on the shoreline.

Sri Lanka One of the Indian Ocean’s most unique islands, with a history dating back 3000 years. Alongside beautiful beaches and warm waters, you can discover heritage, temples, wildlife and jungle.

La Reunion Just east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius, the remote island of La Reunion is still French owned, making it a delightfully distinct destination. You’ll find volcanic cliffs, pretty coastal towns, a still active volcano and crater-villages to explore.

Excursions
Indian Ocean holidays offer so much opportunity for adventure whether you’re sunset cruising in the Maldives, boarding a magical train through the lush tea-growing highlands of Sri Lanka, island hopping in the Seychelles to La Digue and Curieuse or exploring the wild south of Mauritius with its breathtaking Seven Coloured Earths. In the shadows of Sri Lanka’s beautiful coastline join a wildlife jeep safari through the southeast’s grand National Parks, castaway to a private uninhabited island for the night from the luxury Maldivian resort of Maafushivaru or fly by helicopter over the phenomenal canyons, craters and waterfalls of La Reunion.

Diving and snorkelling
The Maldives has the best house reefs in the world. With warm waters and high visibility year round, this jewel-like archipelago is home to luxury resorts offering day and night dives as well as amazing snorkelling adventures. For a unique holiday, hop on board The Floating Resort by ScubaSpa – a sleek ‘safari yacht’ with PADI 5 star resort status sailing across the waters to all the best diving sites – or head to Constance Moofushi for excellent snorkelling and breathtaking dive sites including Shark Point. The entire island of Mauritius is encircled by a barrier reef, with beautiful, calm conditions for swimming and snorkelling. You’ll find neon coral-filled lagoons, historic dive sites and caverns to explore, with visibility on a clear day reaching 50 metres. Mauritius is a fantastic diving and snorkelling destination for beginners. 

Food & drink
Expect fresh seafood feasts everywhere you go, flavoured with lots of spice on Mauritius and Creole influences throughout the Seychelles. You’ll be sipping juice fresh from a coconut, biting into tropical fruits and having an obligatory pina colada on the beach. Luxury hotels are home to award-winning restaurants whether you’re dining 16 feet under the ocean at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, tucking into red snapper overlooking the ocean at Le Méridien Fisherman's Cove on the Seychelles or dining waters edge at a chic open-air restaurant on Mauritius. Private dining experiences are top-of-the list in the Maldives – take a wooden dhoni and picnic hamper to a deserted sandbank in the middle of the ocean or book an in-villa private chef a la carte dinner in your over water bungalow. Many resorts also feature indulgent wine cellars and sommeliers creating bespoke tasting menus to accompany your evening meals.